When Grace, an exceedingly competent and devoted therapist in Montreal, stumbles across a man who has just failed to hang himself, her instinct to help kicks in immediately. Before long, however, she realizes that her feelings for this charismatic, extremely guarded stranger are far from straightforward. In the meantime, her troubled teenage patient, Annie, runs away from home, and soon will reinvent herself in New York as an aspiring and ruthless actress, as unencumbered as humanly possible by any personal attachments. And Mitch, Grace's ex-husband, a therapist as well, leaves the woman he's desperately in love with to attend to a struggling native community in the bleak Arctic. We follow these four compelling, complex characters from Montreal and New York to Hollywood and Rwanda, each of them with a consciousness that is utterly distinct and urgently convincing. With a razor-sharp emotional intelligence, Inside poignantly explores the many dangers as well as the imperative of making ourselves available to—and responsible for—those dearest to us.
In this brilliant new collection, one of Canada's brightest young talents skillfully displays the full range of human emotions through the subtly powerful dramas of everyday life. In "You Are What You Like" a young couple finds their life derailed by the arrival of a hard-partying old friend. In "Robbing the Cradle" Lisette does everything she can to give her husband a baby, committing an act of desperation. In "The Idea Man" Beth, a divorcee, falls in love with a man who lies for fun. And in the incredible title story, Kathleen finds herself sitting at the hospital bedside of a man she had planned to divorce, comforted by the woman she went out of her way to hurt. These characters are divorced and beginning to date again, childless and longing for children, married and aching for more. Often unexpected and unsettling, always fascinating, Signs and Wonders showcases a young writer of remarkable range and emotional depth.
In their various locales—from Montreal (where a prosthetic leg casts a furious spell on its beholders) to New Mexico (where a Soviet-era exchange student redefines home for his hosts)—the characters in Babylon are coming to terms with life's epiphanies, for good or ill.
They range from the very young who, confronted with their parents' limitations, discover their own resolve, to those facing middle age and its particular indignities, no less determined to assert themselves and shape their destinies. Babylon and Other Stories showcases the wit, humor, and insight that have made Alix Ohlin one of the most admired young writers working today.
Lynn Fleming happily abandoned dusty Albuquerque to study art history in New York, but when her younger brother disappears she reluctantly answers their mother's summons and returns home. Although she soon finds Wylie among the eco-warriors for whom he's a philosopher king, she begins to realize how much else is still missing. Her memories of her late cherished father are compromised by her mother's relationship with a married man. And her fascination with two paintings her father left behind leads her to question everything she'd believed about her parents' marriage and, by extension, her own behavior. Meanwhile, her attempt to regain Wylie's affection is unsettled by her affair with one of his cohorts, even as the pranks they play-in order to protect the landscape they see being violated all around them-grow increasingly serious and then spiral out of control, putting everyone at risk.
A story of homecoming and coming-of-age, of convictions shaken and regained, of unspeakable loss and hard-won reconciliation, The Missing Person is funny and piercing throughout, a brilliant beginning to a bright new career.